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Full Circle, review

Paul Clarke checks out a revamped mill for creatives

Published on March 28th 2011.

Full Circle, review

WE’RE BEING told the recession is the death knell for Yorkshire’s old mill buildings so it is a bold move from the team behind the Full Circle Design Emporium to turn one into a multi-purpose arts venue.

‘One of Leeds’ arts movers told us that in Full Circle ‘you could be in Berlin or New York’ - which has an element of truth about it, as the stark surroundings do give the space an underground vibe’

Judging by a very lively launch event, this former warehouse, sprawling across two floors, has got every chance of success. The creative team behind the new venture off Kirstall Road has 20 years of experience doing this, after all.

The idea is simple. Full Circle will be home to creative types who can rent space by the day or year and tuck into a range of freshly-prepared food served daily in the onsite bistro. One bright young thing told Confidential the lunchtime menu was good – ‘especially the stews.’

The daytime twist is the chance to buy an eclectic and quirky mix of design classics and oh-so-ironic figurines. The Hang Gang website has a concession, which is reason in itself to wander down for a bite to eat and check out their wares.

By night the space will be turned into a live venue and thanks to some clever thinking, the design tables are all on wheels so can be pushed into service as an ad-hoc stage.

The good-quality sound system makes sure the music doesn’t just echo round this huge space. Most venues of this ilk just stick in couple of crap speakers and hope for the best.

First up to test out the wheeled stage were hotly-tipped local act I Call Shotgun, who produced a memorable maiden set. It’s easy to see why Camden clowns like Nick Grimshaw rate them so highly as their committed Indie-pop and solid stage show won over a very hip crowd. Confidential had some reservations about the cod reggae in some of the songs but all in all a great set to kick-start Full Circle.

The intermission was taken up with a fashion show, which was splendidly chaotic, but the collection didn’t seem to quite hang together that well despite the efforts of the clearly amateur models.

The highlight of the night was a simply brilliant set by pop stars in waiting, Delorean Drivers. This nine-piece (count ‘em) have not only thought out the whole concept behind their look but have also managed to write a collection of potential disco-pop floor fillers, packed with hooks that most bands would kill for.

There’s an element of the Scissor Sisters in their sound but way better than Jake and his god-awful bunch of tiresome poseurs. Lead vocalists Darren Driver and Lady Orchestra’s meshed vocals may be the focus of the show but it’s the splendid guitar work of Danger Heartbreaker and the driving bass of Dr Orac PhD that really hold potential hits like ‘Dancing With My Sister’s Boyfriend’ and ‘The Girl With Fire in Her Hands’ together.

One of Leeds’ arts movers told us that in Full Circle ‘you could be in Berlin or New York’ - which has an element of truth about it, as the stark surroundings do give the space an underground vibe.

But Full Circle’s biggest problem is that it’s somewhat off the beaten track, so the bright young things will need to make a real effort to support it. It’s going to be a case of use it or lose it, which would be real shame given the desperate need for this sort of flexible venue in Leeds.

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